Of course, the Penguin update is a hot topic at the moment. Google, the most widely-leveraged search engine, made some modifications, which influenced a number of Web masters. What’s done is done. It’s not the first time Google has done it; and, it won’t be the last.
Should it chill your reception of online marketing? I can see how it can for a party of people who view online marketing as an unknown mystery that can deliver results if you type in the right codes. It’s not quite like that. SEO, online marketing, SEM, and other derivations of “marketing” vary in degrees but all pursue the same end…intriguing and converting consumers…as it has always been.
Back to Basics
A while ago now, Gianluca Fiorelli wrote a post, urging us to ‘wake up.’ I’ve referenced the post before; it’s a great learning resource for novices; it explains the major components of online marketing and justifies them. Gianluca urges us to focus on the technical, content, and social aspects of online marketing. Let’s further explain for our purposes here:
Gianluca is referencing a site’s meta information, HTML, backend design, etc – all the technical aspects. He wants to ensure your site is appropriately ‘communicating’ with the search engines, which host its information and pages. This is a job for your coders, IT guys, designers, and other professionals who understand the ‘language’ of computers.
The technical ensures the engines understand and properly read your pages. Consumers use engines; so, make sure your pages are properly indexed. Here is another good post on technical SEO by Dave Sottimano.
Let’s continue by discussing a beloved topic of content. Online…success (whatever that means to your brand) is king. That’s why you pursued online marketing in the first place – to make your brand successful. Content (written posts, audio files, info-graphics, videos, cartoon strips, etc) needs to be composed and released entirely with the target market in mind.
Who should know your market the best? You should. Why else would you be offering goods/services to it? You’ll find tons of great information on how to generate great content online. Collect tidbits here and there you can use to help organize and share your own content. However, understand you can’t recreate the success of another brand by emulating their tactics; you must heed practices then create something unique to your brand.
Jonathan Morrow wrote a content-focused piece on Copyblogger recently. It’s written in a humorous but highly pragmatic style. The post gets down to the essence of writing sales copy and writing for your consumer.
There was a time when a consumer leveraged the phone book or some kind of directory to locate a service or product need. There would be a broad heading, like electricians, with a number of service providers listed after. Aside from some copy cues, there was really no way for the brands to differentiate themselves, to express personality. Nowadays, brands can freely engage markets and express personality through social media channels.
Remember why so many brands were obsessed with the Web in the beginning? They knew it was a new marketing channel, a way to get peoples’ attentions. Brands quickly started chasing rankings, thinking consumers bought from providers listed on the top of SERs. It’s still a sound decision to get on the first page; yet, it’s not a necessity. Get your market’s attention through social media; that’s what you wanted in the first place, right? You wanted to get consumers’ attentions.
Engaging in social media is highly subjective too, just like constructing copy. I can give you suggestions; but, you can’t be me and I can’t be your brand.
However, a brand can use resources to devise its own methodical and strategic way of addressing social media initiatives. I often read the BlueGlass blog for tips on peer, social, and public relations. The social aspect of online marketing is very akin to traditional PR, except now, brands are not just being social with the press; brands are being social with just about anyone involved with them.
The technical/content/social approach to online marketing is a sound paradigm at present. There are six-million ways to try your marketing initiatives. Ideally, arrange your online marketing around your target market rather than Penguins and Googles. I couldn’t of said it better myself:
Be dependent on your target market’s interest rather than movements of zoo animals and their ‘keepers’
Warning: the following post contains sarcasm and irony. Please proceed in the appropriate fashion…
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Most of us did as expected: we bought flowers, called people, and spent time in places we may not have ideally wanted to be. I understand. You did as expected. Where’s the creativity in that! Oh, where’s the irony?
It’s okay! The discomfort is over; now, you can use those karma points from yesterday and compensate today by neglecting people online as normal. Some of you don’t know how!? Wow! I can show you! I spend a lot of time online…observing…sometimes, I even help people! I know. Let’s get back to the neglect! I know online marketing is a notion, which brings people closer to desired products/services; yet, stop listening to all the ‘experts,’ and keep neglecting people. The irony of it all is so genius and entertaining to observe!
Let’s better understand how to neglect people, shall we?
‘They rock in the treetop all day long..’ I ‘rock’ Twitter on ‘the regular.’ A lot of people do. One-way tweeting is an oft-observed tactic. Good job, social media partakers; you’re getting it! Rather than engage people on Twitter, make them feel and look stupid by neglecting to respond to them. It’s not like they are giving you an opportunity to better brand yourself and your associated companies. They’re probably just losers who need attention. Who needs them?!
Rather than be a helpful hooter, be a neglectful robin; don’t respond to followers, you know the people who thought enough of you to follow and ask you a question? People aren’t equal; never forget that. If you’re better than them, they don’t deserve your Twitter attention.
When I’m not perusing Twitter neglect, I read blogs. It’s a great way to learn; sometimes I foolishly use what I learn to help others with their questions; but, I digress… Sometimes, I’ll read a blog…entirely…I know; it’s crazy I would respect the author enough to finish their post…LOL! On occasion I’ll see someone like Dan Shure diligently address peoples’ questions and comments; yet, Dan knows how to treat people well; this is about neglect; let’s forget him.
Alternatively, I’ll see people asking questions (sometimes really good ones!) in a post’s comment section; and, it goes completely unanswered or seemingly unobserved by the author. That’s how you express appreciation for their read; you completely shun their accolades, presence on your post, and questions! Awesome display of online marketing skills! And I was worried people needed me to write how-to’s; many people already have this ‘people thing’ figured!
Why answer their question? You might turn out to look like a thought leader. You may gain a steady follower. You may gain someone’s respect. You even may gain a consumer or an advocate of your brand. Show me where I ever said those are good things!
Do you know what’s sillier than giving a brand the appropriate recognition for a shared piece of content? Making the author of the content feel appreciated and recognized! Why would you give the author ‘a shout’ in your hyperlink or share? It’s not like they deserve any credit! Some people are a bit nice and attribute a link or share to the brand rather than the author. We see it all the time with newspaper articles. Why credit an unknown author when your link or share can say ‘New York Times’? Some people won’t even credit a source in entirety? Nice job of neglect!
Let’s consider what would happen if we accredited an author. They might take a gander at the source of a link. They may share your content because you took the time to diligently share their content and credit them. You may make a ‘connection’ with them through your career. They may help you in some way, shape, or form. Why the heck would you bother with them? Forget them. Neglect them. That’s how I want to see you do online marketing! Keep up the great respect of neglect!
Don’t be pennywise and dollar foolish, business owners. Do you see the forest through the trees? Do you see the three-dimensional image emerging from the ostensible abstract graphic? The dynamic has always existed; yet, I believe brands of ago understood the value in providing “value.” It was expected (as should be). Then, an emergence of business began…
In The Beginning
I get a lot of my work ethic from older generations. My grandfather, though working a white-collar job, had to work very hard. All his peers did. It was expected. Why else would American people, coming out of the Great Depression, give their hard-earned money away? They wouldn’t. Quality and value was respected and expected.
Things Got Better (But for Whom?)
Things turned around for the economy; free enterprise emerged in a number of verticals. Innovation was up as well as the spending of Americans. The hunger of businesses also skyrocketed. More businesses existed in a number of verticals. The principle of ‘competition’ threatened revenue streams and existences of businesses.
What do you do when you can’t compete with a better competitor? Let’s not get into ethics; but, let’s face it. There are those who will do ‘anything’ to make a buck and sustain their ‘business.’
It took some years for us get comfy with the Web; but, today its popularity is undeniable. The line to the Web looked like the one inspired by Sylvester McMonkey McBean in Seuss Sneetches tale. Many licked their chops, salivating at the chance to make ‘mo money’ online.
This was great for consumers too (in part); it was convenient and made for a more robust shopping experience. However, the greed previously spawned before the dawn of the Web was fed by the new wave.
“All these dollar signs (I mean consumers) are on the Web now. How can I get them to buy my stuff? Oh wait, this search engine optimization thingy can get me ranked first for my services and products?! DAAAAAAAAAMN - bingo!”
Many in the industry rag on ethically-questionable SEOs. They are undoubtedly a problem; but, they’re really just hired guns, inspired by their own greed; but, shoddy SEO revenue is fueled by the greed of questionable brands who want to make money (and, yeah, maybe create some value; but, “If we can get the money without worrying about the value, that’s better, right?”)
So, business owners, at present, you have access to a range of SEOs who run the ethics gamut as you yourselves fall somewhere in the spectrum between scumbag and value creator.
Is it frustrating for the business owners who want to provide value? I’m very sure it is. Is it frustrating for upstanding SEOs who want to help in aligning value with target markets? I guarantee it.
We are in an age of transparency. I’m not trying to coin a new term; I know how some take to such notions; but, I digress. With each passing day, I celebrate the present evolution of online marketing; I’m happy for ethical SEOs and for consumers; because, there’s increasingly less room for the unethical to hide. The unethical SEOs are blaringly obvious to those in the industry; but, they’re not a threat to us in the industry; they just disrespect and smear our industry. They are not so readily seen by clients; yet, some clients are just as scummy as those rogue SEOs.
I have bad news for questionable practices and people. You’re going to fail…eventually. Like the time after the Great Depression, we are in the wake of the Great Recession. People care about how they spend their money, insisting on getting value (as it should be).
Those who need to hide will; yet, those who don’t won’t. Why the heck would they? They can be as transparent, footloose, and fancy-free as they want. They CAN DO what all their online marketing and SEO insinuates… Others can’t yet use SEO and online marketing as a means to a scumbag end.
So the cycle will play over. Those who can’t compete will try; but, it’s not going to be so easy anymore. I’m sorry for you (for a number of reasons).
Pro quo means “this for that” in Latin. It’s not rocket surgery (it was intended for a laugh.) People want something in exchange for their hard-earned money, something of value. You’re not deserved of their money because you have a business. You earn their money through respecting your brand, its operations, its employees, and yourself as a business owner. Otherwise, you’re just not getting it (people’s business too –that was a pun) and neither will your brand…in due time. Savvy yet? Don’t worry; I have more ink in my pen.
Consumers, peers, and service providers are a lot smarter than some questionable parties lead themselves to believe. I know companies are in business to make money; but, why would you think you’re entitled to sidestep the genuine business road? Make it your business (yeah, it’s a pun again) to create for the consumer. There is an inescapable dynamic involving creating value and creating a successful business. It takes hard work and dedication. There’s no alternative. Live it or leave business aspirations behind. People understood the dynamic generations ago? Are we degenerating? Some are. Others are finishing the ideals our forefathers/mothers started.
Are you lost in your head regarding SEO, Penguins, Searching Plus ‘Your World,’ contradictory suggestions, etc? It’s cool. I sympathize with business owners. I must bushwhack my way through a series of digital pages per day on germane topics. It can be mazelike; the further you’re in, the increasingly perplexing it becomes.
Such is the reason to stop reading similar, somewhat differing, completely contrasting, completely off the charts, and other kinds of suggestions related to what YOU need to do with your online marketing endeavors.
Please stop the ongoing reading. It’s going to get more confusing. This is why you need to place a call:
Marketers Market You Regarding Marketing
Let me do some deconstructing of the situation of online marketing. Basically, you’re running a business and need to draw attention to your goods/services. Great, I understand.
In order to do so, you must seek the help of yet another BUSINESS, just like yours. People that want to sell you on your need. They have a need too! Online marketers need to perpetuate a business too. In this scenario, YOU are to THEM as your customers are to you. Savvy?
How are we getting you to take interest in online marketing? We’re discussing online strategies…in a general fashion…because we need to…otherwise it would be a ‘case study.’
So, I can understand how many can be confused, asking, “Well, how does this help me specifically?” It most likely cannot! The information is not specific TO YOU!
How does it become specific? You make a call and have a conversation. That way, you can ask specific questions, which pertain to your immediate business predicament!
Would I give the same suggestions to a five-year brand offering business consulting and a photography startup? Maybe on a very general level; aside from that, most likely not! How could I? They’re totally different entities! I need more information about their immediate situation, short-term, and long-term goals!
I read all this general fluff about Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter…and the like. Yes THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE TOOLS. Should you invest resources into them? IT DEPENDS. I can’t provide a definitive, real-to-life answer through a post addressing a broad base of business owners. No one can.
Do you really want to know what YOU can do with Pinterest? You must discuss your respective situation with a consultant who is familiar with the marketing tool. Otherwise, information is highly generalized. It’s akin to someone suggesting me to ‘talk to girls’ to get a date. Um…that’s it? Or is there more to it?
People don’t like committing right away. Most marketers understand. That’s why many will initially speak with you for FREE! Why would you not take advantage? Take what they have to offer. Make these online marketing entities ‘work’ for your increased interest and potential account. Get ‘real’ information about YOUR particular situation.
It’s great when I read how this marketer did this and another writer did that. Would it work for me in my situation right now? That’s what I ask. You should be making progress too. Marketing is only going to become more robust and complicated for the read-only owners. Stop reading and make a call; make several calls. Get a better idea of online marketing by aligning the generalizations with your specific brand and juncture.
Thank you for reading.
(Sigh) It seems so obvious to so few. I read a humorous post today regarding the plight of black hats; the author facetiously recommends keeping a chin up and getting back to work (also advising white-hat methods as a future alternative). I agree. Stop your whining and start ‘getting it.’ I understand why some entertain unscrupulous methods…$…that’s why.
Money Hunger Leads to Uber SEO
I think some businesspeople are suited for SEO. I think some are not. The difference has to do with agenda. Are you in business to make money or serve a place in humanity? I ask for zero philosophical debate here; I know we all need money; but, it doesn’t have to be the primary focus or impetus of a brand’s agenda. It’s pretty simple; it’s kind of like the difference between a ‘job’ and ‘career.’ If you’re on the Web strictly to make money, it’s likely you’ll tend to over optimize.
Why? It’s due to the assumption that higher rankings equal more exposure and more exposure will secure more money. To the novice, it seems pretty intuitive. Online marketers know exposure and rank do not necessarily promise one, red cent.
A patient Web master, who has something to offer the public (and themselves- the intrinsic satisfaction of finding ‘a productive place’ in humanity), comes to understand that killer products/services enable one to make ‘a killing’ online rather than unscrupulous and intensive SEO practices. If you have a great brand and offer quality, then the Web is your friend. If you’re here only to make money you’re going to get frustrated…again and again.
Business owners, start using more common sense. Don’t be so enchanted by the magical SEO acronym. It’s marketing. Marketing is purposed to gain the attention of…people. Sure, playing with numbers makes sense. If you have a quality product, finding a way to expose it to more people, it’s highly likely you’ll make more money. However, don’t forget the keyword there is quality. The quality secures the sale; the marketing only creates more opportunity for the former.
Marketing is purposed to locate and make an impression on the target market. You’re making an impression on people. You’re not making an impression on robots. Thinking of such gets you further from the conversion. Focus your marketing on people, those who keep your business running. Google and its algorithm changes are just means to an end. If Google shut down its engine today, you’d still have people to market toward.
There’s Has Never Been a Better Time to Market
I know I work in a small microcosm of search engine optimization. It’s my interest and passion; so, I am very understanding to business owners. I ‘get’ they’re focusing their passion and interest on their ‘thing.’ But it’s highly alarming to see so many incidents of over optimization. It makes me feel like many chased the ‘get rich quick’ sentiment…only to get burned in the end.
Ironic to the penalties, is the notion that there has never been a better time to market products/service in just about any vertical imaginable. Businesses have tons of online marketing opportunities. Additionally, intelligent and helpful professionals write posts every day, providing insight on how to utilize tools, platforms, and segments of online marketing.
The good news for good brands is that you have incredible opportunities to locate your desired market and make an impression on them. It may not happen within your desired time frame; and, monthly numbers may not be what’s expected; but, there’s always room for improvement. The more you market and understand the better you become at making your brand successful.
What’s additionally encouraging is the number of services willing to offer you help! In the very least, consider arranging for online marketing consulting. The small investment helps business owners ‘see’ present and future potential.
Over the past several years, search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly popular for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Although large scale corporations and well-known retailers may rely primarily on TV and print for most of their advertising efforts, many companies also supplement their marketing campaigns with SEO-based operations online. What used to be a relatively unknown advertising method has now become a common business strategy for countless retailers, restaurateurs and service providers the world over.
Seeing recognizable companies using such innovative and forward-thinking marketing techniques is food for thought for any small or medium business owner. As such, many mom-and-pop and entrepreneur companies are jumping onto the SEO bandwagon in hopes of getting more customers to buy their goods or services. Inevitably, many interested people research search engine marketing only to find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information they need to absorb. While SEO certainly isn’t the most approachable online marketing field, there are a few reliable methods that SMBs can use for becoming more search engine-friendly. In particular, business listings are a quick and easy way to engage web traffic for any SMB owner.
Get your Business Listed with Popular Search Engines
A major detriment for any company, remaining unlisted with a search engine is a surefire way to getting overlooked by potential customers. Anyone who has ever searched for a business on Google has no doubt noticed how the first few search results often display contact information for potential keyword-to-business matches. Search engine users often click on these results for quick contact information such as phone numbers, addresses and business hours.
Scoring the high traffic spot on the SERPs is easier than some SMB owners may realize. By going to Google Places or Bing Local and setting up a listing for a company, one will be able to contribute the necessary information to show up well on search results. Although having a business’ name as the search term doesn’t allow for much in the terms of keyword rankings, the users who use that keyword are far more likely to click on the link and contact or interact with the company in question. For added effect, be sure to add plenty of photos for a more robust listing.
Once a Google Places or Bing local profile has been established, a SMB owner will want to look further into potential SEO services or PPC management options. If readers have any further questions about how to get a listing set up, I can be contacted at email@example.com.